Home-made tomato sauce is wonderful. The rich, bright, fresh flavors just can't be found in a jar. With this recipe, you can have fresh tomato sauce in about 45 minutes.
Don't leave out the wine. Tomatoes have alcohol-soluble flavors that only come out with alcohol. Don't worry, it's perfectly safe (unless you've got an allergy).
- Large sauce pan
- Immersion (stick) blender
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 stalk celery, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 oz olive oil
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp capers rinsed and drained
- 1/4 c white wine
- 1/2 c water
- salt and black pepper to taste
In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and sweat the onion, carrot, and celery until tender. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so, then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, herbs, sugar, capers, wine, and water (everything but the salt and pepper). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes.
After the 30 minutes are up, or a bit more, remove from heat and let cool for a little bit before blending smooth with an immersion blender. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Substitute 2-3 slices of bacon for the initial olive oil for a different flavor
- Add 1 lb of browned Italian sausage
- Add 1 c of red lentils and 2 c water with the tomatoes and everything to add some extra protein, but skip the blending step
Not a lot of esoteric ingredients here, which is good. Only unique thing are the capers. I've never used them before, and so far have only used them in tomato sauce.
We've got a bit of cutting to do here, but first, we've got to peel it.
Gently peel the carrot. The skin is thin, and you don't want to remove too much of the good stuff.
Once it's peeled, we need to dice it.
Start by chopping into 2-inch pieces.
Then slice those pieces into 1/2-inch-wide sticks.
Finally, cut the sticks into 1/2-inch cubes.
Next, the celery gets the same treatment.
First, we need to wash and trim off the top and bottom.
Then, like the carrot, chop into 2-inch pieces...
... then slice into 1/2-inch-wide sticks...
... and finally into 1/2-inch cubes.
The onion gets a similar treatment, but we can do it a bit easier.
First, remove the top so it will sit on the cutting board.
Next, cut down through the root, so that the root holds each half together. Then, peel off the skin.
Slice down the onion, about 1/2-inch apart, but don't cut through the root.
Finally, slice across the onion into 1/2-inch pieces.
This combination of equal parts onion, celery, and carrot is called mirepoix.
If you, like me, bought more than one onion, one carrot, and one stalk of celery, you can chop up the rest of it and freeze it, together or separately, for easy sauce-making later.
To mince fresh garlic, first we have to peel it. But it's a lot easier to peel garlic when it's been smashed first.
Smash the garlic with the flat of your chef's knife. Place the knife on the garlic clove and press down until crushed.
The skin should then come off easily.
Once peeled, mince the garlic by cutting into tiny strips, and then cutting the tiny strips into cubes, and then rocking your knife back and forth until minced fine.
Now we've got all the prep done, we can start making the sauce. Heat the oil in a saucepan.
Then sweat the mirepoix. Sweating is done at lower heat to get the flavors out.
Once the mirepoix is tender, it's done and we can add the tomatoes.
Add the diced tomatoes, with liquid, and the tomato paste. Stir well.
Then add everything else. It really is just that simple!
Mix it all together, cover, and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
Once the time is done, get your immersion blender and blend until smooth.
The sauce will brighten with the orange from the carrot.
And you're done! Fresh pasta sauce that beats any can or jar!